The intense midsummer sun glared down. Saeki Reiji wiped the sweat off his brow as he waited with his bicycle at a red light.
「It’s hot, or should I say, it’s already hot.」
He bitterly scowled at the sun, as cicadas chirped in the background.
Despite the fact that is was only just past 10AM, the temperature had already exceeded 30℃. According to the TV, other areas reaching 40℃ wasn’t uncommon. But for Reiji, who lived in Tohoku’s countryside, 30℃ was hard.
「In this heat, swimming in the river would be good.」
The next few lines will describe how remote Reiji’s area was. It was a place where you could barely get cellphone reception. It took more than an hour by bicycle to get to the nearest town from home.
If you think of a second year high school student’s summer vacation, it’s usually busy with exam study. But Reiji was not worried about that at all. Anyway, few students in Reiji’s high school go on to higher education, most find jobs in the local area.
Because of this, Reiji was enjoying the long vacation of his second year in high school, summer vacation retaining its original meaning. Of course homework was given, but he had spent the first first few days of summer vacation finishing that to enjoy the rest of the break.
In that time, he received news that a new fiction book he had been looking forward to could be found at a bookstore. Because of that, he had come to town in this hot weather.
「However, will get a little cooler……or should I ask Father or Mother to come pick me with the car?」
While grumbling, he waved his T-shirt around to let out the hot air.
Even with that said, with this temperature, it’s nothing more than a drop in the bucket.
Wiping the sweat that had come out again in the few minutes that he had waited for the red light, he directed his line of sight to the surroundings.
Several decades ago this place may have been crowded, now over 60% of shops have closed. Even if he said that many students would find local employment after high school, the number of students has steadily decreased along with the number of children.
In fact, some houses near Reiji’s place had already started demolition.
「I wonder if the depopulation will continue.」
Though he said that, it was pointless for him to consider as there wasn’t a particular solution.
At the moment he was thinking about that.『It’s Dangerous, Look Out!』A voice shouted out loudly.
He reflexively turned his gaze at that direction, a steel frame about 5m away entered his vision……it became the last scene Reiji saw in the world.
Hearing a voice, Reiji woke up suddenly. Nothing but white space could be seen in the surroundings. It seemed to continue endlessly.
「……Where is this?」
The steel frame definitely crushed him……he calmly made this strange judgement, he gave a cry as he remembered the moment before before his death.
「I seems you’ve woken up, my successor candidate.」
Turning his consciousness to the voice, a presence automatically came into view.
「A glowing orb?」
Yes, there was a glowing orb about 30cm away from him. As it flickered, a voice came from it.
「I’m a glowing orb, but you are a glowing orb as well, do you understand what I’m saying?」
Listening to the words of the glowing orb, he noticed for the first time that his body was also a glowing orb. He certainly didn’t have any hands or feet, he couldn’t sense that he had eyes or ears either. Yet why could he see and hear.
「Quiet down, successor candidate. ……No, you aren’t confused? As expected of my successor candidate.」
「Hmm. I called your soul to me the moment before it disappeared.」
Reiji thought about the scene where the steel frame was about to hit him before thinking about what the glowing orb said. Certainly, it was unlikely that he had survived the situation.
「That’s right. I certainly……should be dead. So here is the so-called afterlife?」
「No. This is a kind of spirit world between two worlds. I was using my art in search of a successor, and you were caught in it.」
So said the glowing orb in a level tone. Reiji was surprised.
「Is it, that? You interfered with the law of causality and I got killed?」
In the recent novels, comics, movies and games that Reiji enjoyed, it was a familiar development. ……However, he wasn’t happy that it had happened to himself.
But in front of him, the glowing orb emitted a voice again while flickering.
「No. My art works when the soul of a person who has the qualifications to be my successor is dying, it is an art that only temporarily moves a person to this spirit world before heading to the afterlife.」
Listening to those words, Reiji’s mood became somewhat lighter. If the contents of what this glowing orb had said was true, his death had nothing to do with the glowing orb.……However, that was only if the contents were true.
It was a stranger that he had met for the first time……it was not possible to confirm if the story of the strange glowing orb was true.
With that said, they couldn’t remain like this forever and so Reiji prompted the continuation of the previous point.
「Hmm. As I said before, I was trying to invoke an art to find an existence worthy of becoming my successor. And thus you have appeared. Therefore you are a successor candidate.」
「I was wondering about it from a while ago, but successor of what?」
「Successor of a magic that is on the brink of disappearing, the successor to the magic called Magic Beast Art.」
The voice muttered somewhat sadly, as the glowing orb flickered.
「When I brought you here, I roughly read your memories. My world is different from your world, there is something called magic. I am a magician with powerful magic power and magic. People in my organization were the same. In my organization, we created what is called the Magic Beast Art.」
「Since your organization invented it, isn’t its disappearance a major thing?」
「I won’t deny it. The prerequisites for this magic is to have a large magic power, because of this, it was difficult for anyone outside of my organization to learn it.」
「Do I have……a large amount of magic power?」
Since a large magic power is a prerequisite for the Magic Beast Art, if he didn’t have a large amount of magic power, he wouldn’t even be considered as a successor. That was what Reiji thought, but the answer from the glowing orb was outside of his expectations.
「You do. To be more precise, a person with more magic power than you probably doesn’t exist in your world.……Why was the existence that can only be called a special mutation like you born in a world without magic. Though it is an interesting question, I do not have the time to solve that mystery. Therefore, I want you to listen and judge for yourself.」
After that, this is what the glowing orb talked about. As mentioned earlier, magic exists in the glowing orb’s world. It seemed that the organization which the glowing orb came from was one of best in his world and where top-class magicians were gathered. Though it was only a group of magicians, their war potential was enough to destroy a single country in several hours. In such a place where the best magicians were gathered, the Magic Beast Art, which the glowing orb had previously mentioned, was created. However, because of the massive magic power requirements to use the Magic Beast Art, nobody outside of the organization was able to master it. The unfortunate impact of all the genius magicians gathering in one era was that not a single talented magician appeared in the next generation. In addition, because of the relation it created, the Magic Beast Art could only be used once in a lifetime, this was a major reason why Magic Beast Art did not spread.
And of course, even genius magicians have a limited lifespan, 1 died, 2 died, and gradually the number of people decreased.
The glowing orb in front of his eyes was the last survivor of the organization, but even his life was nearing its end. He couldn’t stand that the Magic Beast Art that they had invented would vanish just like that. However, there wasn’t a person in that world that could learn the Magic Beast Art. Then, what about other worlds? With that idea in mind, the glowing orb had used all his magic and life force to execute this last art. He created a spiritual world between worlds and for several hundred years, searched for a soul with the qualifications to inherit the Magic Beast Art. And Reij’s soul was caught in it.
「I see. I roughly understand the circumstances.……By the way, what would happen if I refused?」
「There’s nothing I can do. You will continue in this state to the afterlife and obtain a new life.」
「Then say,what happens if I inherit the Magic Beast Art?」
「In that case, I will become a catalyst for you and I will bestow a new body to you.」
Hearing the words of the glowing orb, Reiji’s glowing orb began to flicker and move.
「……Wait a moment, I think I missed something you said. Firstly, what do you mean by catalyst? 」
「It’s as I said. It’s a necessary procedure to pass my knowledge to you.」
「That is, it? Will I get a feeling of being fused with you?」
「No. I’m only a catalyst to the end. My knowledge will be absorbed by you and afterwards I will disappear. However, you won’t change when you absorb me. You are the main core, although there will be some changes.」
At the very minimum, his personality would remain intact, Reiji unintentionally gave a a sigh of relief. Moving on to the next question.
「What about the new body?」
「You have lost your own body in your world.」
From the glowing orb’s words, he remembered the the steel frame looming in front of his eyes. It was certainly crushed by the steel frame, Reiji was easily able to imagine that his body wasn’t in a decent state.
「Well, that is true.」
「Therefore, I will fix your soul to a new body that my organization created, using the best magic and techniques.」
「I understand, a new body.」
「Also, after you inherit the Magic Beast Art, I will cease to exist. Therefore, everything, magic tools and precious materials, that my organization has gathered will be yours.」
「The legacy of several hundred years of the world’s most powerful magicians, is it. A perfect start. But, what happens to my magic power with a new body?」
「There won’t be any problems. Magic power is provided by the soul, it isn’t something that the body possess.」
「In other words, my large magic power will remain unchanged. In that case, why can’t you revive yourself with that body?」
「No. My soul and the body have compatibility issues, my soul is already old and worn out. Curiosity and a questioning mind, I have already finished life as a magician as I no longer thirst for the unknown. The knowledge that I pass onto you will tell you. Therefore, I will ask. Do you want to leave, or do you want to inherit our tehniques.」
「……Well, if I refused here, I would just move on to the afterlife. Okay then, I’ll be happy to accept your offer.」
The glowing orb flickered in response to Reiji’s words.
「Thank you. Then let us begin the fusion.」
「Ah. What should I do?」
「It’s not difficult. The preparations have already been set in this space. Fusion will automatically occur if I come in contact with you and you will be reconstructed. Your soul will take hold in your new body and you will awake.」
「I understand……do it.」
「Mmm. Then I will start the fusion.」
While declaring that, the glowing orb moved close to Reiji……and they merged.
「Saeki Reji, thank you. I wish you happiness in your new life.」
At the same time the glowing orb said those words, Reiji’s consciousness sank into darkness.